BZBI, where you belong

Professional Staff


    Lynne Balaban, Executive Director

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    Lynne has more than 30 years of experience in nonprofit management. As a seasoned Executive Director she has held leadership roles in synagogues, JCC’s and other non-profits in South Florida, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Providence, Los Angeles and Columbus. She most recently served as the Executive Director of B’nai Aviv in Weston, Florida. Prior to that she was the Executive Director of Congregation Or VeShalom in Atlanta, Georgia.

    A Pennsylvania native, Lynne holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Delaware and a Masters Degree from Gratz College. Lynne has a breadth of program development and strategic planning experience coupled with a passion for Jewish education. She supports and believes in Tikkun Olam and the importance of developing employees and volunteers.  She is dedicated to building inspired and productive relationships with our members and the community, including you!

    As an active member of NAASE (the North American Association of Synagogue Executives), she currently serves on their Executive Board as Vice President. She is also on the Philadelphia Jewish Federation Women’s Philanthropy Board and a member of the Development Committee for Hillel at the University of Delaware.

    Lynne notes, “BZBI is a synagogue with a proud past and an even more promising future, and I look forward to being a part of it.”


    Julia Pollock, Communications Coordinator

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    Julia Pollock is BZBI’s new Communication Coordinator. Originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, Julia has been able to pursue her passion for people as a Public Relations major at Temple University. Julia has worked in both event planning and social media content creation with hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the communication realm at BZBI. Her dedication to continuous learning will shine through as she begins this new path in life, celebrating both non-profit work and becoming a part of the Philadelphia Jewish community. As this new chapter unfolds, Julia strives to provide open communication to all members of the congregation and a positive presence at BZBI.


     

    Julie Atchick, Community Engagement and Outreach Coordinator

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    Julie Atchick is so pleased to join the staff as the Community Engagement and Outreach Coordinator. She has many years experience in congregational membership and engagement, and looks forward to meeting each of you and learning what would help you connect to BZBI. She has a Masters Degree in Religion with a minor in Jewish studies, and sharing Judaism is one of her passions. She lives in Hatboro with her dogs and cats, and she has two adult sons, Joshua and Max.
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    Aleksandra Konior, Office Administrator

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    Aleksandra Konior moved to Philadelphia from Krakow, Poland where she had worked at the Jewish Community Centre of Krakow. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Jewish Studies from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Both of her theses focused on Yiddish language and translations. Aleksandra is passionate about sharing her knowledge about Jewish Poland and will be happy to answer any and all questions that congregants may have. She is excited to be joining the BZBI team, and hopes to contribute to its growing prosperity.


    Leslee Schwartz, Account Specialist

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    Leslee Schwartz is our Financial Account Specialist addressing the day-to-day financial transactions for our members and vendors. She works closely with the treasurer and finance committee to help insure the accuracy of our financial statements. She is the go-to person for questions about your account and can easily update any information in your synagogue files. Leslee manages employee benefits and payroll for BZBI. She is a Center City resident and a former school teacher who has taught part-time in our religious school.


    Marc Hersch, Torah Academy Coordinator

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    Marc Hersh is the coordinator of BZBI’s first Torah Academy where congregants learn to read Torah.


    Education

    Sara Dasher Goldfuss, Director of Early Childhood Education

    215-735-5142 | email

    Sara is a passionate Early Childhood Educator with years of experience teaching young children and coaching parents and fellow educators. She has taught at Germantown Jewish Centre and Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El, was a Tribe 12 Fellow in 2015, and an administrator at Society Hill Synagogue before joining BZBI in January of 2020. Sara, her husband Jamie, and their 4 children Izzy, Yaffa, Toby, and Adar are all proud Philly natives.


    Liel Brenner, Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator

    215-735-5142 | email

    Hi, my name is Liel, I also go by Revi, feel free to use either! I’m originally from Orlando, Florida and have lived in Atlanta, South Carolina, New York City and Ithaca, New York and I’m so excited to be a new Philadelphian! I’ve been involved with Jewish education for as long as I’ve been able to, starting as an assistant teacher and tutor shortly after my bar mitzvah. I’m a proud alum of USY and Ramah Darom and have learned Torah at Yeshivat Hadar, Drisha, and spent two years at List College, the Joint Program of Columbia and the Jewish Theological Seminary. I recently graduated from Cornell University and have been farming and cooking professionally throughout my time in college. 

    I am very passionate about music, food, and the environment and I’m looking forward to bringing those passions with me to the Early Childhood Education Program. I’m so excited to start my career at BZBI and look forward to becoming a part of this wonderful community.


    Larry Kaplan, Teen Program Coordinator

    215-735-5148 | email

    I am a lifelong Philadelphian and a graduate of Central, Temple and the University of Pennsylvania. I Have a Masters of Education and taught in Philly and the surrounding suburbs for many years. I have run youth programs at various synagogues for even longer. When not teaching, I have owned a number of business including dessert shops and the award winning Varsity Fitness, where I trained professional athletes from around the world. I love to travel and explore and have some very interesting stories to share. I can’t wait to hear all of your stories too!

    I’m excited to be working at BZBI and combining my passions of education, mentoring, inspiring, and of course, Philly. I look forward to all of the amazing relationships that will be developed over the coming years. My goals for the teen programs at BZBI are to give you, the teens, ownership of your own programs. Accordingly, I will meet with you and the teen leaders often to make sure our programming is exactly what you want. I promise to help make the programming fun, meaningful and educational.  Please reach out to me with any questions or just to say hi, and make sure you’re following BZBI Youth on Instagram @BZBI.USY. Looking forward to working together!

    Maintenance

    Joel Chew, Maintenance Lead

    215-735-5148

    Joel Chew is the lead person in our Maintenance Department and is charged with the general maintenance of the building, facilitating set-ups for classes, meetings and services, and ensuring that the building is accommodating to our congregants and visitors. He is the person who makes sure it’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Joel has been on staff for 11 years and helps make BZBI the welcoming place it is.


    Brian Johnson, Senior Maintenance Expert

    215-735-5148

    Brian Johnson is our senior maintenance person. Brian has worked for BZBI for 12 years and is an expert on the facility and the nuances of our classrooms and meeting spaces. He makes sure the building is prepared for the next day’s programs and ensures its cleanliness each evening. He secures the building at the end of each day and is the smiling face that wishes those here late in the day a good evening.


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